Two hackathons aim to attract the city’s software professionals to coding

Despite having a considerably large workforce of software professionals, Chennai is not quite on the map when it comes to hacking culture.

At best, hacking in Chennai is at a fledgling state with most hackathons happening within engineering colleges.

Now two hackathons — marathon sessions of computer coding where groups compete to build the best products — are being organised next month with the aim of inculcating the culture of coding.

Specifically, these hackathons are targeting not just the students but also software professionals from the IT services sector, who are otherwise out of touch with writing code.

The two-day ‘Save the Hacker’ slated for March 1 and 2 is being organised by Freshdesk Inc. and is partnered by Amazon Web Services and Uber, among others. (details on www.savethehacker.com).

Another hackathon is being organised by Chennai Geeks, an open Facebook forum that encourages discussion among the software community.

It has over 6,000 members and can be found at www.facebook.com/groups/chennaigeeks. The organisers have not yet narrowed down on the date for the hackathon.

Dorai Thodla, a well-known technology evangelist from the city, says hackathons have been happening within some of city’s premier institutions such as IIT-Madras and some engineering colleges but generally, have been rather low-key affairs. Some of them though have provided exciting results.

Mr. Thodla recalls the ’32 Hours’ Startup’ event organised by SSN College of Engineering in the year 2011.

Two students who benefited from the event were Karthik Subramanian and Madhumitha Viswanathan, who were selected for Google’s ‘Summer of Code’ programme and eventually went on to earn a monthly salary of more than Rs.1 lakh right out of college.

Girish Mathrubootham, CEO of Freshdesk Inc., says it is important for software professionals to keep coding.

“Once a software engineer joins an IT service industry, the perks within the company are more for managing projects, which makes it a management job. They must attend such hackathons to keep the passion for coding going.”

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